RIM boss: 'Our PlayBook shames the You Know What'
Unruly mob boos iPhone
MWC 2011 Never has anyone spent so much time talking about Apple without saying the ‘A’ word than RIM CEO Jim Balsillie as he showed off the company's upcoming PlayBook tablet at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Playing to the gallery of operators – a congregation that booed when the iPhone 4 won ‘best handset’ at last night’s GSMA awards – he talked about how the PlayBook does things the unmentionablepad doesn’t, and how those things will make money for networks.
Balsillie was on stage with fellow CEOs Stephen Elop of Nokia, Dr Paul Jacobs of Qualcomm, and Ryuji Yamada of NTT DoCoMo. The topic: “Connecting the Dots - A 360° View on Consumer Electronics”. Given that this was a pants thing to ask them, they all wisely gave a nod to it and then talked about what they wanted to talk about.
What Jim Balsillie wanted to say was: “Hey, you know that sexy new tablet? We can do that too. You know that sexy new handset/operator alliance aimed at operators? We can do that too.” But he was more subtle.
RIM is now a Consumer Electronics company because it has a tablet. Embracing the Consumer Electronics element, he talked of a “constructive alignment” of Consumer Electronics companies with carriers – an alignment that was the difference between going through the operators' billing systems and going over the top and disintermediating the carrier.
What makes the PlayBook great, he said, is that it supports real-time multitasking with symmetric multiprocessing. It’s also open – although everyone has different measurements of ‘open’ and no mention was made of OS openness.
Who pays the piper
Balsillie went on to look at mobile devices for payments. This starts with carrier billing for BlackBerry App World offerings, a brave thing to highlight because RIM only has agreements with a handful of carriers while Nokia has over 100 such agreements. But Stephen Elop was too much of a gentleman to point this out.
Carrier billing is ostensibly about a seamless experience for the user, buying your Angry Birds Mighty Eagle without having to type in a credit card number in the middle of the game. In truth, it’s about getting operators to buy your kit because there is ongoing money in it.
Treading delicately on the toes of financial regulation, Balsillie announced the ability to send operator credit from one BlackBerry to another with BlackBerry Messenger, gifting airtime and applications. He needs to be careful with this as it won’t be legal in some countries, and if there were ever any hint of turning that credit back into cash, the financial might of most financial regulators would descend on him.
He confirmed the rumours that there will be an NFC-enabled device, going further by saying that it is possible that all future BlackBerry devices will have NFC, mirroring an announcement Nokia made last November for all smartphones.
Next page: Qualcomm's connected world
Burning question left unanswered!
When will Samsung's Bada phones get Bing?
Apple can afford to do that as the whole of the media takes care of building hype for them, for free. Other companies need to do the job themselves.
Anyway, remember the iPhone, Apple did pre announce it months in advance, they don't need to do it any more.
Can't we all just get along?
Well it's very clear where most of you lot all stand with your tastes in hardware/software vendors. I am the first to admit that I am a fairly dedicated Blackberry user and it’s a huge chunk of my job. I DO however appreciate Apples hardware and some of its devices. I do think some people have overlooked a few things with the Playbook though and are letting rivalries get in the way.
I think RIM and HP have made a strong decision with the OS of their tablets. Instead of trying to add functionality to a phone OS, they've started from scratch to make a OS just for tablets and then further down the line, disable whets not needed to move it onto a phone. Yes OS6 on the playbook meant it would have been out by now but how buggy would it have really been. Not that the iOS is that bad but at times it does feel rushed. Although no where near as bad as W7P that feels very rushed and lacking at times.
Yes, it has taken them a very long time to go from initial announcement to actually selling them, as long as the time has been taken to iron out any issues with the OS, I for one would not mind waiting a few months more to have a near faultless device as possible. I mean you wouldn’t be happy if you brought a car if the engine kept on cutting out every time you tried to take a left hand turn, at 20mph on a Tuesday would you? Although I do agree that if it's not out by the end of April, 9 months from announcement to sale is more then pushing their luck.
RIM say that it's big feature is "it supports real-time multitasking with symmetric multiprocessing," however have you guys even looked at the hands on reviews and videos of how the play book handles multitasking of two HD videos being shown on the same screen at once with comparative ease? I’ve read from a hardened apple fan who was taken aback from RIM's offering. Though that's just it's party trick to be fair, the fact that companies that want a highly secure mobile device can get a Playbook and connect it into an existing BES server. There is a reason why Apple don’t get threatened with being banned in a country because their devices are too secure for the local governments own liking.
Honestly though, I don’t think the Playbook will be an "iPad killer" much in the same way no blackberry will ever be an "iPhone killer". They are chalk and cheese, the playbook will take a good portion out of the tablet market this year but they will be mostly taking it from a part of the market that’s not accessible for the iPad, The medium/large scale businesses and government departments. Just like the iPad will strive ahead in the personal and small business markets.
"he talked about how the PlayBook does things the unmentionablepad doesn’t, and how those things will make money for networks"
...by not connecting to their networks directly, instead requiring a tethered/mifi blackberry or other mobile device. Hummmm....